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Posted at: Apr 21, 2019, 7:02 AM; last updated: Apr 21, 2019, 8:59 AM (IST)

Govt delaying merger of schools with low enrolment

Govt delaying merger of schools with low enrolment

Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 20

The state government, which closed 100 schools with nil enrolment last year, is dithering on closing or merging primary and upper primary schools with less than 20 students. This despite an acute shortage of teachers at various levels.

There are 5,718 schools, including 4,754 primary and 964 upper primary schools with less than 20 students. The Education Department had proposed to shut or merge the schools with 0-5 and 6-10 enrolment in the first phase on its website for objections and suggestions, but no decision has been taken so far.

The delay in decision has hit the exercise to rationalise deployment of teachers as their total strength is about 66,000, while the number of schools is about 15,400.

The teacher-pupil ratio is satisfactory at 12:66, 12:04, 16:81 and 11:16 at the primary, upper primary, high and senior secondary levels, but the deployment of teachers has not been done in a rational manner and there are schools where the number of teachers exceed the number of students, while in some schools, the number of teachers is far less as compared to the number of students.

The situation is so grim that as many as 123 posts of principal are lying vacant and perpetual shortage created due to retirement of teachers is worsening the situation in a large number of schools.

As per the 2018 report of the Unified District Information System for Education, as many as 1,324 primary and 154 upper primary schools are being run by a single teacher, while 6,701 primary and 352 upper primary schools are being managed by two teachers.

As per the RTE (Right to Education), the shortage of teachers is not alarming, but rationalisation of teachers alone can solve the problem as there has been a decline of 23.7 per cent in the enrolment in government schools in the past 10 years. The government has taken a series of measure to reverse the trend and check flight of students from government to private schools.

The enrolment in primary section declined from 3, 23,827 in 2016 to 3,11,035 in 2017, while in case of middle schools, the enrolment was 2, 41,937 and 2, 32,012, respectively, in 2016 and 2017.

Out of the total enrolment in all schools, which was 14,07,049 in 2017, the enrolment in government schools was 8,90,137, while in 2007, in lower primary and upper primary, it was 6,76,245 and 4,05,596. The enrolment in government schools was 5,23,614 and 3,35,473, respectively.

Acute shortage of teachers 

  • The Education Department had proposed to shut or merge schools with 0-5 and 6-10 enrolment in the first phase, but no decision has been taken so far.
  • The delay in the decision has hit the exercise to rationalise deployment of teachers as their total strength is about 66,000, while the number of schools is about 15,400.
  • As many as 123 posts of principal are lying vacant and shortage created due to retirement of teachers is worsening the situation

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